On 7 July 2011, the European Court of Justice ruled on the interpretation of the market manipulation prohibition in the Market Abuse Directive (2003/6/EC), as implemented in the Netherlands in Section 5:58 paragraph 1 sub b FMSA. More specifically, the ECJ ruled on the meaning of the term "secure" in the Directive (translated as "houden" in the Dutch-language version) and the question whether the price must maintain an abnormal or artificial level for a certain period or whether it is sufficient that such a price level is simply brought about. The question was referred by the Administrative Court for Trade and Industry in a case where the AFM had levied a fine on the trading firm IMC for market manipulation. IMC had placed purchase orders for shares to trigger a "stop loss order", enabling it to buy the shares at a lower price.
The ECJ concluded that it is not required that the price maintains an abnormal or artificial level for more than a certain duration. As such, bringing about an abnormal or artificial price level is sufficient for the ban on market manipulation to apply. This implies that the AFM or the Public Prosecution Service only needs to prove that an artificial price level has been caused without addressing the time frame.